The Waziristan peace deal

Pakistan’s peace deal with the tribal groups in Waziristan looks to be about as close to a surrender as you’ll get without calling it one:

MIRAMSHAH, Sept 5: Militants in the restive North Waziristan tribal region on Tuesday signed a peace agreement, pledging to halt cross-border movement and stop attacks on government installations and security forces.

“There shall be no cross-border movement for militant activity in neighbouring Afghanistan,” read a clause of the three-page agreement signed by seven militants on behalf of the Taliban shura (advisory council).

On its part, the government pledged not to undertake any ground or air operation against the militants and resolve the issue through local customs and traditions.

Political Agent of North Waziristan Dr Fakhr-i-Alam signed the agreement on behalf of the government. Maj-Gen Azhar Ali Shah oversaw the signing and later embraced the militants.

The peace deal brokered by a grand tribal jirga will come into force with the relocation of the army from the checkpoints in the region. Tribal Khasadar force and Levy will take over the checkposts.

Maulvi Nek Zaman MNA read out the agreement after which the militants and military officials hugged each other and exchanged greetings. The venue was heavily guarded by armed Taliban and journalists were not allowed to shoot or film the event.

I included that last sentence mainly to show who was in charge of the signing ceremony. Over to you, Bill:

The Asia Times’ Syed Saleem Shahzad states Osama bin Laden’s most recent video tape “marks [al-Qaeda’s] announcement that the new strategy it has been developing is now very much in place,” which includes a reorganization of al-Qaeda’s structure and “the acquisition of various bases in the shape of small pockets” in the tribal regions “along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas, including Khost-North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Kunar-Chitral and Kunar-Bajur.”

That paragraph is from January, by the way. Bill saw this coming. Osama bin Laden seems to have achieved his goal. The Taliban has certainly carved a sanctuary out of Waziristan for itself.

MEANWHILE: The NATO commander in Afghanistan is asking for reinforcements:

NATO’s top commander, Gen. James L. Jones, on Thursday called for allied nations to send reinforcements to southern Afghanistan, saying the coming weeks could be decisive in the fight against the Taliban.

Jones will meet top generals from the 26 NATO nations Friday and Saturday in Warsaw, Poland, in an attempt to generate hundreds of troops, with planes and helicopters needed for the mission.

Jones acknowledged that NATO had been surprised by the “level of intensity” of Taliban attacks since the alliance moved into the southern region in July and by the fact the insurgents were prepared to stand and fight rather than deploy their usual hit-and-run tactics.

On Thursday, Taliban militants took over a police station in the remote southern town of Garmser in Helmand province after officers fled for a second time in two months, police said. Taliban forces briefly held the town for two days in July before coalition troops retook it.

Jones said, however, that he was confident that NATO troops could win the war.

“In the relatively near future, certainly before the winter, we will see this decisive moment in the region turn in favor of the troops that represent the government,” Jones said at NATO’s military headquarters in southern Belgium.

He told reporters he was confident the meeting in Warsaw would muster helicopters, transport planes and several hundred “flexible” reserve troops able to move quickly around the region in support of the operation against the Taliban.

“It will help us to reduce casualties and bring this to a successful conclusion in a short period of time,” he said. “This is not a desperate move, it is more of an insurance package.”

The Taliban seem to have established a secure rear in their fight in Afghanistan, and they’re using it effectively.

I don’t know whether it’s coordinated or not, but we seem to be looking at a series of breakout attempts on the part of al Qaeda, the Taliban and the terrorist regimes in Iran and Syria via Hezbollah’s actions in Lebanon. After routing the Taliban in Afghanistan and then toppling Saddam in Iraq, we had effectively encircled the two major remaining terrorist states, Iran and Syria, with Libya cowed into turning state’s evidence and North Korea being increasingly encircled by the Proliferation Security Initiative. Libya is still quiescent (for now), but it’s hard to see Iran and Syria as encircled anymore. And the Taliban has an emirate from which it can and undoubtedly will launch attacks in Afghanistan. The Pakistanis are hands-off on the Taliban’s home base.

It’s hard to see recent trends in the war as positive developments.

NATO must reinforce its troops in Afghanistan post haste and crush the Taliban. If we’re looking at a WOT Battle of the Bulge, we have to push back hard and pound the Taliban until it’s finished.